The settlement of Šentrupert developed in
the centre of the Mirna Valley, adjacent to the road connecting
Trebnje and Sevnica. It derives it's name from the patron St.
Rupert, the first bishop of Salzburg. This name, however, did
not become current until the 14th century. Before that it was
named after Škrljevo Castle, the administrative centre of an
extensive feudal estate in the High Middle Ages. In 1044 the
castle's owner, Hema, Countess of Carinthia, who later became
known as St. Emma, donated the estate to her ecclesiastical
foundation, the monastery of Benedictines in Gurk in Carinthia.
It became the Diocese of Gurk in subordination to the Archdiocese
of Salzburg in 1072. It was these circumstances that led to
the first church being constructed in the vicinity of the castle.
The church soon developed into one of the most important proto-parish
THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. RUPERT (Sv. Rupert)
HISTORICAL OUTLINE. The church of Sv. Rupert is first
mentioned in the archives in 1163 when Ulrich II., Patriarch
of Aquileia, held a chapter consultation. With the permission
of the Pope, the Patriarch of Aquileia, Johannes, gave the patronage
of the parish to Herman II. Count of Celje, one of the most
important patrons in the Slovenian history, on 28th Dec. 1393.
The ambitions of the Counts of Celje were, however, of short
duration. After the last of their members had died in 1456,
all their estates and rights were inherited by a member of the
Habsburg family, Emperor Frederick III. On the incentive of
Jakob Auersperger (1474-1499), parish priest at the time, Frederick
III. incorporated the parish into the Collegiate Chapter of
Novo mesto in 1493, at the same time making Jakob the first
provost of Novo mesto. This deed formally diminished the importance
of the parish, but, on the other hand the newly appointed provost
almost as a rule came from the post of the Šentrupert parish
priest in the succeeding centuries.
ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY. The present-day church is a result
of at least three phases of construction occurring during the
15th century. The first and most important phase comprised the
construction of the presbytery, the ground floor and the first
floor of the belfry, the stair turret on the north and the east
nave wall with its buttress on the south side. The belfry used
to be considered of a later date than the presbytery. Due to
its dimensions it was also thought to have originally had a
defensive function. The architectural elements, however, do
not confirm these suppositions. The phase is dated to the first
quarter of the 15th century on the basis of mason's marks and
the Counts of Celje's coat of arms on the top of the vault.
The coat of arms includes also the Ortenburg family heraldic
bearings with three wings, which the Counts of Celje inherited
when the Ortenburg family died out in 1418.
After the completion of the presbytery they probably proceeded
with the completion of the belfry and the nave. The construction
of the latter had already begun but, in the end, the existing
nave from the Romanesque period was retained. Despite the favourable
position of the Church, work did not continue until after the
mid 15th century. The clues that indirectly speak of the building
activities are the Gothic church bell, bearing the date of 1474,
and a document on the consecration of the high altar and the
granting of indulgences in 1482. The date above the portal tells
us that the nave only gained its current form in 1497, when
the vaulting and the portal were completed. Contemporaneously
with the construction of the vaulting the church was decorated
by the so-called Master of Podpeč (Podpeč pod Skalo near Gabrovka).
His frescoes adorned mostly the presbytery and the vaults. They
are preserved only in the latter, which is currently covered
by the painting by Matija Koželj, executed in 1897. The late
Gothic style painting was ordered by the Šentrupert vicar at
the time, Fabijan Paroll (1495-1507), also notary public in
Novo mesto and member of the Novo mesto Chapter.
DESCRIPTION OF THE CHURCH. The ground plan reveals a
church with a longitudinal nave and a long presbytery or choir.
The latter is externally surrounded by six double stepped buttresses
with diagonally truncated upper parts and decorated with blind
trefoils and pinnacles. The walls of the choir are perforated
by five tall windows whose upper parts are filled with tracery
in the form of triskele as well as trefoils and quatrefoils.
The windows in the sacristy, situated in the lower part of the
belfry, are profiled. Above the sacristy the belfry transforms
from a rectangular into an octagonal tower in the upper part
and represents one of the oldest belfries of this type in Dolenjska.
The interior of the presbytery is vaulted with three hip caps
of a star-rhomb-vault. The ribs rest on geometric corbels. On
the final sides, on the other hand, they rest on semicircular
shafts, two of which bear figural capitals. All the rib junctions
are decorated with bosses. Only those in the form of rosettes
and heraldic bosses are preserved, the latter bearing the coats
of arms of the Auersperg (Turjak) and the Schönberg (Šumberk)
Lords, as well as the Marian monogram. The quadripartite star-vaulting
in the sacristy bears no bosses, resting rather on figural corbels.
These probably represent the angel with Mary at the Annunciation
and an angel playing music. The preserved sculpture comprises
two stalls in the south side of the choir termination, badly
damaged by fire, and a figural capital, which was subsequently
immured into the arch. The scope of the construction reveals
that the church was ambitiously planned at the beginning of
the 15th century as a completely vaulted (probably double nave)
volume, of which only the belfry, the long choir with external
buttresses, and the east nave wall were completed. The work
was conducted by the successors of Peter Parler from Prague.
They created a number of important monuments in Slovenia around
1400 (Ptujska gora, Hajdina, Maribor, Celje), which were of
the highest quality in Europe at the time.
The most prominent feature of the nave architecture is its
star rib pattern. The ribs on the walls rest on figural corbels
in the form of angels and male figures. However, in the middle
they grow from three pairs of octagonal pillars that divide
the space into three equal aisles. The ribs grow from the pillars
without intermission. They introduce the foliaged phase of late
Gothic architecture, which is complemented by painted foliage
decoration on the vault panels. All the rib junctions are consistently
decorated with bosses in the form of figures of saints, rosettes,
and heraldic bosses. The bosses, however, do not exhibit a specific
iconographic programme. Most of the saints are those most popular
at the time (St. Mary and others). The church was finished in
1497 and was solemnly consecrated by Daniel de Rubeis, Bishop
of Caorli, in 1520. It was a modernized version of a longitudinal
volume originating from an older concept. Despite this it is
considered a hall church, which was the most advanced church
form in Carniola at the time.
In the last two centuries the church has seen several renovations.
The high altar was made by the mason Ignac Toman from Ljubljana
in the Neo-Gothic style in 1865, the sculptures adorning it
were made by the sculptor Matej Tomc and the brass reliefs by
the girdler Valentin Sadnikar. On altar there are the statues
of St. Rupert, St. Peter and St. Andrew, while the reliefs on
the mensa depict the Offering of Abraham, Melchizedek and Noah.
The altar was consecrated on September 30th, 1866. The statue
of St. Rupert in the main niche was occasionally covered by
the painting of St. Rupert made by the painter Janez Wolf from
Ljubljana. At present it hangs on the north wall of the presbytery.
Left of the high altar is a Neo-Gothic ambry, erected during
the renovation between the years 1857 and 1860. The statues
of St. Nicholas and St. Ulrich under the baldachin in the north
wall of the presbytery were made in 1860. Both side altars were
constructed in the same year. Only the tombstone of Maximilian
Valerius, Count Barbo-Wachenstein, in the north nave wall is
of a later date, namely 1697.
THE CEMETERY CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS. The cemetery of Šentrupert
extended around the parish church until 1785, but later developed
to the east of the settlement. Within the cemetery walls stands
the chapel of The Holy Cross. It was built in 1859 as a vault
for the Barbo family of the Venetian nobility. The building
is composed of a vaulted tomb and a single liturgical space
with a short polygonal presbytery, a nave, and a belfry. The
chapel was hit by lightning in 1870, therefore it quickly needed
renovating. In 1872 its interior was painted by Martin Šubic
from Škofja Loka, depicting suffering souls in purgatory beseeching
Our Lady for help, Christ on Judgement Day, and the Crucifixion.
The paintings explore distinct eschatological themes, meant
to incite the spectator to contemplate the final matters, death
and the after life, themes that in fact bear relation to the
function of the chapel.
The chapel of the Holy Cross is an interesting example of Neo-Gothic
architecture. The marked ornateness achieved by wreaths, friezes,
and various plant motifs is particularly noteworthy. Interestingly,
the Barbo family, who commissioned the building, was clearly
well informed of the modern forms in church architecture of
the time. Like Barbo family, the executant probably also came
from Italy, namely the mason's workshop of Giovanni B. Pascoli.
WAYSIDE SHRINES. The oldest wayside shrine in Šentrupert stands
along the road between Vesela Gora and Šentrupert, on the Šentruperško
polje, so colled Rakovško znamenje, erected in the 18th century.
The second wayside shrine is the Chapel on the Prelesje Field
(Preleško polje) east of Prelesje. It is noted for the statue
of Mary of the Assumption, solemnly place in the chapel in 1878.
The statue originally stood in the parish church, in the high
altar erected in 1752 and was removed in 1865. The statue of
St. Rupert is of the same origin and now stands in the Neo-Gothic
Rupert Chapel in Šentrupert, which was erected on the order
of the parish priest Alojzij Košir in 1870 on the site between
the parish church and the cemetery.
ŠKRLJEVO CASTLE. Škrljevo Castle is located on the side of
the Ravnik Hill, in the immediate vicinity of Šentrupert. The
first documents with its name date to 1044, when St. Emma donated
the castle and its estate to the Benedictines monastery at Gurk
in Carinthia. With the founding of the diocese of Gurk in 1072,
the estate came into the possession of the Counts of Gurk, who
enfeoffed it. The estate was obtained by the Auersperg seigneury
in the 15th century. The castle passed through the hands of
numerous different lords from the 16th century up to the end
of World War II. Nowadays the dilapidated castle is owned by
The castle is in a ruinous condition and it has not been subjected
to research and the highly necessary renovation. For that reason,
the development of its architecture is not known in detail.
The castle developed from an earlier, medieval tower, still
preserved in the foundations. Corner towers and entrance tower
with a drawbridge over a moat were added in the time of Osterman
Auersperg in the second half of the 15th century. Later, in
the 17th and 18th centuries, modernization took place to serve
residential needs and included mostly the window openings, the
staircase and the majority of the rooms. Among the latter is
also the castle chapel, in connection to which its chaplain
is mentioned in 1734. Following numerous alterations, the castle's
most marked features nowadays are the entrance tower with the
main entrance, two defensive towers and the northern part of
the building, which bears a Medieval tower preserved in its
foundations. The interior of the castle is relatively unpretentious.
Through the entrance hall a simple staircase leads to the first
floor, where hardly a representative room can be found. The
location of the castle chapel is also not precisely known. The
castle's unpretentious character is even more pronounced on
its exterior. The Baroque overlay effectively covered the Medieval
features of the castle, therefore the building is at present
perceived more as a Baroque mansion with a park design surrounding
it, which can partly still be discerned.
VISITS: Visitors can wiew the church and chapel interiors
by prior arrangement with the Šentrupert Parish Office (Župnijski
urad), phone no.: (00386) 07 304 00 38. Visits of Škrljevo castle
are possible only by arrangement with the local authority (Krajevna
skupnost Šentrupert), phone no.: (00386) 07 343 46 00 or 07
343 46 01.
Novi trg 6, p.p. 11, 8000 Novo mesto
tel.: 07 3372 440, fax: 07 3939 322